Scott evidently understands that and is trying hard to fix the problem. Hence, his “listening tour” of schools. He has indicated that the FCAT is flawed and should be replaced, which means merit pay for teachers must be reviewed as well. He says teachers shouldn’t have to “teach to the test.” He also questions why so many teachers must spend their own money to outfit their classrooms. “It’s all about the kids,” he said the other day. So far so good.
Scott seems sincere in his efforts to improve Florida’s schools — and Lord knows, they’ve got to get better. But the governor has a long way to go to gain the trust of Florida K-12 teachers. And of voters in general. His approval ratings are in the low 40s because people just can’t warm up to him. He often seems uncomfortable in his own skin, uneasy as the center of attention, incapable of speaking spontaneously or moving beyond his boiler-plate talking points. The talents that made him a successful businessman aren’t necessarily the ones he needs to be a successful governor.
It’s nice to have a governor or mayor or president you’d like to have a beer with, but Scott will never be that guy. Which is OK. Leadership isn’t about being palsy-walsy with everyone. Leadership is about convincing the people you represent that you’re devoted to them and your own principles. Scott has yet to convince Floridians that he truly cares about them, that he’s got their best interests at heart, that he’ll move heaven and Earth to get it done.for them.
Perhaps with education Scott has found his breakthrough issue because it doesn’t look like it’s going to be jobs for some time.
Perhaps Scott is truly committed to improving Florida’s schools. But he’s having a terrible time expressing it.